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Review published
July 26, 2004
A.J.'s Rating:  2.5 Silly Stars
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    Will Ferrell is Ron Burgandy, a popular local news anchorman in the 1970's.  Christina Applegate is Veronica Corningstone, a plucky junior reporter out to gain equal acceptance as an on-the-air news anchor.  With the help of his wacky, chauvinistic, all-male news team, Ron is determined to see that this doesn't happen. 
    Well, what do you think?  Sounds like a fun premise for a comedy script, eh?  It's such a shame that nobody actually bothered to write one for this movie.  Oh, the credits say that Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay wrote Anchorman, but don't be fooled by that!  Apparently, Will Ferrell and the rest of the cast just made things up as they went along, with McKay simply choosing which bits got edited together, and which bits hit the editing room floor.  The result is a jumbled mess of clashing comedy styles that never quite combine for a cohesive story. 
    Ferrell and those unfortunate enough to share scenes with him attempt to ad-lib their entire way through this movie.  Bad idea.  Will Ferrell is a master ad-libber.  In fact, 90 random minutes of Will Ferrell ad-libs are probably a lot funnier than any movie starring Will Ferrell ever could be.  Who came up with the idea to ad-lib a story about womens-lib, anyway?  That's kind of funny.  I'll bet it was Will's idea. 
    You may notice that I keep mentioning ad-libbing as opposed to improvising.  That's because there's a subtle difference between the two.  Skillful improvisation builds upon an idea or situation, while stilll leaving it open for further improvisation from an ensemble cast.  Improv is a generous art.  Skillful ad-libbing consists of short, often witty, unscripted comments that relate to the scripted idea or situation that came before.  The only response usually left open to other cast members is that of stunned silence.  Ad-libbing is a selfish art.  Will Ferrell is a selfish, selfish man.
    But, you may ask, is Anchorman funny?  You know, actually, in a weird, demented way, it kind of is.  I laughed, I cried, and I threw up in my mouth a little, but as the zany, disjointed events of Anchorman unfolded across that shimmering, silver screen, I must admit, I was entertained.  Please take into account that I've recently been drinking a lot of beer, killing off brain cells at an alarming rate and thus lowering my cinematic standards to those of... oh, say, Leonard Maltin's.  Don't worry, though, because the voices tell me that an intervention has been planned... what?  With ice cream and pie?  Oh, goody! 
    (See what I mean... stunned silence.)
Directed By:  Adam McKay
Written By:  Will Ferrell & Adam McKay (story)
Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell,
David Koechner, Fred Willard, Chris Parnell

MPAA:  Rated PG-13 for sexual humor, language and comic violence.
               (edited for re-rating)
Anchorman - The Legend of Ron Burgandy